A new report from the University of Western Australia has found solar energy in Australia is still a small part of the electricity supply mix.
The report’s authors, led by Professor Paul Tully, said the key to the current electricity market was to increase solar capacity to meet demand and provide incentives to build more solar panels.
Professor Tully said it was important for states to consider ways to encourage more solar energy as they consider renewable energy targets.
“I think that the most important thing that we need to do is increase the number of solar power plants in Australia, but I think the most challenging thing we have to do to ensure that we can maintain our position in the world as a global leader in solar power is to make sure that we are increasing the number and variety of the solar power installations,” he said.
Professor Paul Tullys report into solar energy says it is a low-cost source of energy with limited potential to produce any significant emissions.
The researchers used data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Solar Energy Database, a database of more than 6,400 solar power projects in the United States and Canada, and data from Australia’s Energy Supply Monitor.
“We are seeing that we’ve been growing solar energy over the past decade, but we’ve only been doing that in the last decade or so, so we need a longer period of time before we see significant change in Australia’s solar energy production,” Professor Tully explained.
“Solar energy is a cheap source of power, so it has a lot of potential to be an affordable, low-emission source of electricity.”
Professor Tulls report found solar power production in Australia increased by just 1 per cent per year from 2012 to 2015.
“There are a lot more solar plants, but the growth in solar is really not there yet,” Professor Peter Dankert, who was the senior energy adviser to the Victorian Premier, said.
“It’s not there now, but it will be in the future, and we need that.”
Professor Danker said solar power had a lower carbon intensity than coal and natural gas, and had a higher economic return than nuclear.
“If we can ramp up solar and we have the resources to do that, we should be able to do the same with renewables,” he added.
“So we’re actually in a good position to actually be a world leader in renewables.”
Solar energy production in Victoria and New South Wales peaked in 2015, and has been declining ever since.
The authors said solar energy could be the way to keep Australia on the path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“The key to achieving our targets is to use the renewable energy sources that we have, but also to take into account that those renewable energy technologies are not the only options for meeting our energy needs,” Professor Dankers report said.
Topics:energy,environment,climate-change,energy-and-utilities,environmental-policy,government-and‑politics,electronics-and_electronics,electrical-communication,environment-policy-and.technology,government,governmental-and%E2%80%93-2070,energy,utah,australiaFirst posted November 21, 2018 07:17:32Contact Sophie PrenticeMore stories from Victoria